Last week, we learnt that Arcadia had a 40% fall in profits. Of course, we all know that Arcadia is a high-street giant (it owns Topshop, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, BHS etc etc) and so there’s almost no chance that the company is going down the pan. Despite this, Sir Philip Green has reported that he aims to close 260 shops in the next three years. And this means that it is very likely that some Evans stores will shut.
Evans is dealing with this problem by offering up to 30% off everything – meaning Sir Philip Green won’t be able to afford that solid gold teapot he’s been coveting. And it’s good news for bargainistas, too – you can snap up some great things at the moment. I, for one, have partaken in a pair of these glittery babez: perfect for Christmas when I don’t want my feet to die in heels, but flat enough that I can wear them all around the office whilst I hand out mince pies to tired colleagues who are sobbing onto their reindeer jumpers as I force them into another rendition of Wizard’s 1973 hit, “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”.
Yes, you guessed it. I am the office cheermonger. And the office douchebag.These shoes are available in sizes 4-10, and with 20% off until tonight, are a rather sparkly £17.60.
But sparkly shoes aside! What will we do if Evans does close?
What is really left for plus-sizers? Ann Harvey? Doubt it. Odds are Evan’s sister site Style369 will still operate, being an internet-only seller. But if a number of Evans stores do shut down, the truth is that there’ll be very little choice left.
As I’ve said in a previous post, Style369 could be so much more than what it is. Evans needs to bring in a younger demographic, and, at first, Style369 looked like it could do that. But it hasn’t – it’s just selling the same old stuff with a younger and edgier model on the front page. They could do so much – there’s hundreds of talented designers out there who could transform Style369 to sell exclusive designs that probably wouldn’t appeal to Evans’ main customers. But they don’t – they just stick to the middle of the road.
Of course, in-store ranges such as New Look’s Inspire and internet outlets such as Asos Curve cater specifically for plus-sizes having caught on to a vast amount of people who were being ignored. But Evans was right at the forefront of that plus-size revolution, and it’s done a lot for women who want to be accepted in the intense fashion culture we find ourselves in. But if the stores close… we are left with the dregs.
So, in a cack-handed and overblown way, I’ve touched on two problems here in. One is the potential loss of a plus-size clothing outlet when there’s often nowhere else to turn. And the other is Sir Philip Green not seeing what is right in front of his nose. The plus-size population make up a staggering amount of the UK population (I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing – I’m just stating it as a fact). And yeah, it would cost more money to launch younger designs on Style369 – but in the long run, I genuinely think it would pay off. Arcadia is missing one hell of a trick here.
In case you live in a cave, we are in a recession – and times are hard. But the potential loss of Evans stores will cost us more than plus-size clothing. Above everything, it will be a step back from social acceptance of different sizes. And a huge leap into the abyss of the social norm.
Prepare yourselves, campers.